Suggestions for Managing Behavior of People with HD

From the Spring 2000 issue of Hopes & Dreams, newsletter of the Illinois Chapter, Huntington's Disease Society of America.

Most unacceptable behavior is in response to unmet personal needs, frustration, or a sense of powerlessness. People with Huntington's Disease (HD), because of organic brain damage, are unable to rationalize certain situations and, therefore, may appear to be irrational, demanding, or selfish. They are often unable to learn new tasks. Techniques using reward and punishment and behavior modification are beyond their mental ability.

In difficult situations, caregivers who are tired and overworked may stop rationalizing the behavior and fall into the trap of reacting to it by becoming either authoritarian, rude, or even angry. Often caregivers will forget that the person with HD is brain impaired, and that the impairment is one of the reasons for the behavior.

Some Don'ts

Some Do's

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Created: July 4, 2000
Last updated: Dec. 6, 2010